Fat Noob needs starting advice

Rowing for weight loss or weight control? Start here.
polymath
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Re: Fat Noob needs starting advice

Post by polymath » November 16th, 2014, 8:59 pm

Hello all,
I first stumbled upon this thread back in June/July, when I was first thinking about getting a rowing machine.
Like others have commented, the number of discouraging comments in the beginning of the thread were quite disheartening, especially since I was similar to the OP, but I read on and found others like The Great Fatsby talking about their successes. Now, about 4 months after getting my rower, I wanted to share my own success to help other "fat noobs" like me.

I'm 34, 5'11", and started out at about 350 lbs. When I first got my rower (a waterrower in my case, just because it fit better in my apartment), it was REALLY hard to do much on it. After about 2 or 3 minutes, I was totally drained. I kept at it every other day, working my way up to 5 minutes, and then finally 10 minutes, when I first started tracking my numbers. My first entry on July 12 shows I rowed 10 minutes at a 2:35 split. After these rows, it was difficult to even get up from the rower. My legs were so weak I could barely lift them over the edge of my bathtub to have a shower! I progressed with my rowing, trying my best to do at least 10 - 15 minutes ever day, or every other day, often managing to do 10 - 15 minutes in the morning, then another 5-6 at night. By the end of August (and after a 2 week vacation where I didn't have access to a rowing machine), I was consistently rowing 30 minutes every other day, with an average split of 2:25.

Fast forward to today, and I'm rowing at least every day (more often 5 days a week), at least 30 minutes each session. If I really push it, I can row 4k with a split of 1:51 - 1:54, while my 30 minute sessions average between a split of 1:59 and 2:03. I've been rowing in combination with calorie counting (as they say, weight loss starts in the *** DELETE - SPAM ***), and am happy to report I've lost over 70 lbs since July. The more my belly shrinks, the easier it is to put a lot of power in my stroke.

I just wanted to pass along this encouragement to other fat guys and gals out there. At first, It will REALLY suck as your body gets used to rowing, but stick with it and you'll make some great progress!

Good luck to everyone!

Mycroft221b
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Re: Fat Noob needs starting advice

Post by Mycroft221b » November 17th, 2014, 1:06 pm

Congratulations on the 70lb weight loss! You are definitely not the only one out there. I am 36 and started out last week at 365. I am sticking to a program for the Concept2 as well as a healthy diet. Nearly ten pounds lost already. It is great to know there are others out there struggling with the same obstacles...but succeeding!
Thanks for sharing.

cooledit
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Re: Fat Noob needs starting advice

Post by cooledit » December 8th, 2014, 10:55 am

hi Fat Noob

do you know what they all forgot to tell you try not to strap in the feet.
I found that when you do not strap in you build more hip abductor + hamstrings faster. Also it's 100 times easier to breathe that way not strapped in it's like giving an extra 1-2cm movement. Exhale on the drive an inhale on the recovery make it a task to do as perfect and easy as possible.

it takes only 1 to 2 times workout and that not strapping in will seems so much easier already.

no more that 24 strokes per minute on level 2-3 row here for 1-2 month program then work up to a 10km workout in 1 sitting, on some days do some interval.

then work on some negative splits on the 10km start chopping times off, you'd properly start to feel it's getting easier after the 1st month.

Regards
Uffe

cooledit
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Re: Fat Noob needs starting advice

Post by cooledit » December 8th, 2014, 11:01 am

I also forgo to tell you.
that sit up straight lean rather a little backwards rather than forwards 1-2% what I'm trying to say
that if your back is the slightest curved in over the tommy then I'd have a problem myself. Spend slow time rowing and see the diff.

Cooledit

d700
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Re: Fat Noob needs starting advice

Post by d700 » March 15th, 2015, 10:19 am

Just came across this thread, wish I'd been around when the OP was posting, I've shared similar problems over the years.

If you are are rowing pro, please don't cringe. Those of us not exposed to the sport who come across it looking for cardio/weight loss in a simple machine need extra care and handling to get going.

Some things I found work for me:
-Compression shorts are must.
-I have the risers on my water rower so its elevated about a foot off the ground. (I highly recommend).
-When starting out, I had exactly same problems as OP. Hip muscles on fire after 2 minutes. Since my rower was elevated slightly, I found I could put my feet flat on the floor and used a short stroke to get moving. Its almost exact motion as doing hack squats. I was overweight, so these muscles were strong from carrying my extra weight around all day, so once I got comfortable, I could cruise for long time.
-I didn't need need much pace, 20/m , to get into the ideal fat burning zone (100- 120 for me). I got 45 minutes in first session, all in target heart rate with feet on floor.
-After a few sessions, I got creative and after 10 minutes warm up with my legs on the floor, I would start putting 1 leg up and use it to do 20 normal full strokes, then I'd alternate....It was super easy and again, a lot like weight lifting, just doing 1 legged presses with low weight.That was a burn on the quads but a good burn and when I tired, I just put my feet on the floor and kept going.

I still haven't gotten to a normal rowers form for long periods but I'm using my investment, getting quality cardio, no pain.

but most importantly, I didn't give up.

Manufacturers should just offer wider plates as attachments to help people get going. I rowed at the gym years ago (60 lbs ago) and never had this problem, so I'm sure once I get the weight off I'll be able to adapt to the narrower stance.

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Re: Fat Noob needs starting advice

Post by Bobpond » March 19th, 2015, 12:09 am

d700, right with you there, I wish I was around before the OP got shouted out for being fat and slow. I'm a fat and slow newbie too, so abuse by someone rowing for years, my height and half my weight would not sit well with me.

I'm finding that the muscles one would use to pick your legs up while standing are the bottleneck. I think OP was having problems with the muscles that bring ones knees closer together. I have some trouble there too.

I'm setting the foot holders all the way down to make more room for my gut, and really trying to push my gut against my legs to get as long a drive as I can.

I find that setting the DF at about 140 or so and then doing a real strong arm pull helps arresting the backward momentum and keeps the hip muscles out of it a bit.

Since mine is in my basement, I actually bolted a 4x4 to the floor so when my legs are killing me I can drop down to a lower and wider stance and not lose too much leg involvement.

Any strategy to keep going is admirable. Your addressing of the problems you faced is very cool.
6'3" - 290lbs (that's going to change!) - 54yo

Edward4492
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Re: Fat Noob needs starting advice

Post by Edward4492 » March 20th, 2015, 9:36 am

Nice job by all of you guys who are getting started....you have to begin at the beginning! The one, number one key to exercise and weight loss is consistency. Commit to some sort of program, anything, and stay with it. The gains (or losses!) will become exponential as you gather momentum. It may go slow at first, but as you train and eat right, fitness improves. As you improve, you can train more and harder, you will start to automatically make the correct food choices. It will start to steam roll. And when you hit plateaus....look back on how far you have come and re-dedicate yourself to continued improvement.

Stay consistent, be patient, make slow and steady progress.....and you will amaze yourself!

(NOTE: There were some earlier posts regarding strapless rowing. Others may disagree, but I would not recommend this for a new rower, particularly if you are struggling with some extra weight. I'm in very good shape and develop lower back pain when i row strapless for any length of time. I consider it to be more of an advanced practice, of particular importance for on the water rowers)

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Re: Fat Noob needs starting advice

Post by lynnly76 » October 30th, 2018, 10:58 pm

So glad I found this thread! I just started using the rower at the gym and my split time is 3:50 (am I saying that right?). I was getting so discouraged! I can only do 5 minutes at a time but it's better than nothing!

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Ombrax
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Re: Fat Noob needs starting advice

Post by Ombrax » October 31st, 2018, 4:43 am

lynnly76 wrote:
October 30th, 2018, 10:58 pm
my split time is 3:50 (am I saying that right?).
You may or may not be using the term "split" correctly. "Pace" usually means time / 500 m. "Split" usually means time for a given distance. If that distance happens to be 500m then the split time and the pace are the same thing, but if the PM is using a split distance of say, 750m, then the split time is the time to row 750m and the average pace is the time / 500m at which you rowed the 750m. Of course you must also distinguish between instantaneous pace and average pace. (same thing as in your car you have the instantaneous speed as you drive and the average speed over some given distance). If you're rowing, say, 5000m and the PM is set up for 1000m splits, then you would have 5000 / 1000 = 5 different split times. (the details here assume we're talking about a C2 PM, but the concepts of pace and split times are of course not a function of the rower. And finally the term "rate" (which I don't like) is sometimes used to mean "stroke rate" (which I prefer). For example, "A stroke rate of 32 spm is probably too high for someone who's just doing a "normal" workout."

I hope that makes sense.

Congratulations on your starting to row and keep at it - as long as you keep doing it you will continue to improve. :)

Dangerscouse
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Re: Fat Noob needs starting advice

Post by Dangerscouse » October 31st, 2018, 8:54 am

lynnly76 wrote:
October 30th, 2018, 10:58 pm
So glad I found this thread! I just started using the rower at the gym and my split time is 3:50 (am I saying that right?). I was getting so discouraged! I can only do 5 minutes at a time but it's better than nothing!
Don't get discouraged, very very few people start off being fast and can row for hours, and there's a very good reason why most people avoid the rower, as it is a hard workout. The good thing is you should make some quick gains in performance as you get used to it and assuming you row regularly.

Stay patient and only try and beat your own times and sessions I.e. don't compare to others as it's only ever a battle against yourself. Prepare to being comfortable with being uncomfortable!
45 HWT; 6' 4"; Liverpool 1k= 3:09; 2k= 6:36; 5k= 17:27; 6k= 21:23; 10k= 36:21 30mins= 8,356m 60mins= 16,317m HM= 1:18:40; FM= 2:49:39; 50k= 3:28:18; 100k= 7:52:44; 12hrs = 153km

"You reap what you Row"

Instagram: stuwenman

canglem
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Re: Fat Noob needs starting advice

Post by canglem » April 23rd, 2019, 12:29 pm

I just received my rower yesterday after saving up for a few months starting in January, and found this thread one of the more inspiring things out there. I put on my first 1,000+ meters last night and am ready to get back down tonight. As a 304 lb. bowler, my goal is to be averaging my weight by the end of next year. Either I've lost a lot of weight and am not bowling super well, or I've lost some and am bowling REALLY well!

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Ombrax
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Re: Fat Noob needs starting advice

Post by Ombrax » April 23rd, 2019, 11:34 pm

canglem wrote:
April 23rd, 2019, 12:29 pm
I just received my rower yesterday after saving up for a few months starting in January, and found this thread one of the more inspiring things out there. I put on my first 1,000+ meters last night and am ready to get back down tonight.
Welcome to the forum. :)

With some dedicated effort you'll find that the rower is a great way to exercise and improve yourself. Good luck, and keep at it.

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hjs
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Re: Fat Noob needs starting advice

Post by hjs » April 24th, 2019, 3:28 am

lynnly76 wrote:
October 30th, 2018, 10:58 pm
So glad I found this thread! I just started using the rower at the gym and my split time is 3:50 (am I saying that right?). I was getting so discouraged! I can only do 5 minutes at a time but it's better than nothing!
No problem, but...... make sure you do more every day, don,t be soft on yourself, make every day better than the one before.
If needed take breaks, aim for no breaks though. Also over time your pace, 3.50 should get faster.

Patience and believe will get you there.
For my training see twitter @Hjsrowing

canglem
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Re: Fat Noob needs starting advice

Post by canglem » April 24th, 2019, 5:11 pm

Ombrax wrote:
April 23rd, 2019, 11:34 pm
canglem wrote:
April 23rd, 2019, 12:29 pm
I just received my rower yesterday after saving up for a few months starting in January, and found this thread one of the more inspiring things out there. I put on my first 1,000+ meters last night and am ready to get back down tonight.
Welcome to the forum. :)

With some dedicated effort you'll find that the rower is a great way to exercise and improve yourself. Good luck, and keep at it.
Thank you! My plan is to do a little more each night (until I get too sore the next day, then a recovery day) and build up a very base fitness level, then once I feel comfortable doing a 5k, starting the BPP, probably after I bowl at nationals near the end of May. Last night I found a workout from Dark Horse rowing to do :30s/:30r, 1:00/1:00r, etc. at your comfort level then back down. I felt ok after going up to 2 minutes then back down, so I did another 500m after that. Probably going to try a 2k tonight after yardwork.

canglem
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Re: Fat Noob needs starting advice

Post by canglem » May 2nd, 2019, 10:33 am

canglem wrote:
April 24th, 2019, 5:11 pm
Ombrax wrote:
April 23rd, 2019, 11:34 pm
canglem wrote:
April 23rd, 2019, 12:29 pm
I just received my rower yesterday after saving up for a few months starting in January, and found this thread one of the more inspiring things out there. I put on my first 1,000+ meters last night and am ready to get back down tonight.
Welcome to the forum. :)

With some dedicated effort you'll find that the rower is a great way to exercise and improve yourself. Good luck, and keep at it.
Thank you! My plan is to do a little more each night (until I get too sore the next day, then a recovery day) and build up a very base fitness level, then once I feel comfortable doing a 5k, starting the BPP, probably after I bowl at nationals near the end of May. Last night I found a workout from Dark Horse rowing to do :30s/:30r, 1:00/1:00r, etc. at your comfort level then back down. I felt ok after going up to 2 minutes then back down, so I did another 500m after that. Probably going to try a 2k tonight after yardwork.
After a week and a half of use, using every day except for 1, I've learned some lessons and can already feel that I'm making small improvements. I tried that 2k last week and had to stop 3 times and completed it in 10:51.1. After realizing I don't have to do max exertion every stroke, I adjusted my "training" to just straight timed rows doing 5 minutes then 6 minutes, before trying 10 last night. Happy to report I did 10 minutes non-stop, and even made it to 2,088 meters. Even started to lose some weight (which I thought would be a struggle with my son turning 3 years old this weekend)!

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